easy desserts & recipes: {winner announced} cherry blossom extract giveaway (sakura) petit fours

easy desserts & recipes: cherry blossom extract giveaway (sakura) petit fours Spring is one of my favorite times of the year where all the flowers start to bloom in all their glory. Usually, spring in Japan means cherry blossoms! A cherry blossom is actually the flower of several varieties of trees from the Japanese Cherry, also known as “sakura”. The most popular cherry blossom in Japan is the Somei Yoshino. Its flowers are almost all white with a tinge of pink, like blushing cheeks. The flowers are in full bloom for only about a week and many people, locals and tourists alike, flock to ogle the majestic beauty of these wonderful trees. They are truly one of nature’s grandest spectacles. Cherry blossoms are very much sought after, not just because of their beauty, but because of their edible blossoms and leaves. They are not to be mistaken for the trees that bear edible cherry fruits which belong to a completely different species. Cherry blossoms and leaves are used as a popular ingredient in Japan’s culinary world. The sakura leaves are called (sakura no ha) and they have a distinctive flavor that gives every dish an added depth. My affinity to spring and cherry blossoms inspired me to share a simple but delicious recipe for cherry blossom petit fours (petit four is pronounced as peh-TEE foo-RH), if you’re going to make it, might as well get the pronunciation right. One of my pet peeves is not getting the pronunciation correct. For instance, “Hermès”, the brand associated with the luxury designer, should be pronounced "Air-Mehy" (the S is silent)” " [ɛʁmɛs]" but some people pronounce it as Hermezzz "cringe" or some argue that it's “ermèz”. But if one was referring to the Greek god Hermes, then the pronunciation should be HUR-meez. It makes me wonder why don’t people don’t just pronounce all words the way they are written. Rayt?! :) So back to cherry blossom peh-TEE foo-RH! These are small sugary confections that are eaten after a meal. In Japan, most pastry shops serve (just a tad over bite sized desserts) called Petits fours secs. Petit four means “small oven” in French. The French thought the heat from the cooling ovens would go to waste, hence, they thought of baking small confections that would cook faster. For the recipe, we used pourable fondant flavored with Cherry Blossom Extract, and a vegetable base shortening, (optional full fat), no artificial colors. We also made a batter with a natural cake recipe that was flavored with cherry blossom extract. We adjusted all the recipes to be as natural as possible. Using Ateco cutters is a wonderful technique to create perfect shapes for the petit fours cake or you can buy them, for example here are some sugar flowers from Wilton. For the fondant decorations, We used a Wilton flower cutout to top off our sweet and tempting creations. As a special treat for all our subscribers, we are going to give away Cherry Blossom Extract! Just simply sign up for our regular newsletter e-mails and subscribe to our rss feeds via google reader. Rules {CONTEST CLOSED} Winner for this give away is "D" from East Of Eden Cooking. Choose by Random.org 1. Please sign up for our newsletter. 2. Subscribe to our feed via google reader. 3. Giveaway Closes on Monday 26th. {Useful Products} 1. Green Leaf Powder (Sakura no Ha) 2. Ateco 9 Piece Petit Four Cutters 3. Nordic Ware Petit Four Pan 4. Petit Four Mould Assortment by Gobel {Useful Tips} 1. If you like to buy products from Japan, Rakuten Ships internationally, however, some shops don't, however Tenso will forward your packages to you.
Recipe Adapted from Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes Cake Recipe Adapted from Smitten Kitchen. For the cake 3/4 cup skinned pistachio nuts (optional, we used almonds instead) 1 2/3 cups sugar 2 cups cake flour 1 tablespoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 8 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature 1/2 cup milk 1 teaspoon Cherry Blossom Extract 1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract Make the cake 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter three receptacle baking tins. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper. 2. Put the almonds in a food processor. Add the sugar and pulse just enough to grind them finely. 3. Pour into a large mixing bowl and add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Blend with the mixer on low for 30 seconds. Add the butter, milk, and vanilla and, with the mixer on low, beat until completely incorporated. 4. Raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the beaten eggs in 2 or 3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl well and mixing only long enough to blend after each addition. Divide the batter among the 3 prepared pans. 5. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the layers to cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely. You can use your cake cutters for different shapes or use a squared petit four. We found that freezing the cake makes it easy to work with when using pourable fondant. Marshmallow Fondant Adapted from Cake Journal Makes about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds White marshmallows (16 oz) Water (2 tbsp) Icing sugar sifted (1 to 2 pounds) Crisco (or natural vegetable shortening) Heatproof bowl Spoon Sift Food colors (natural) or cocoa powder Flavouring optional Note: you can of course use your kitchen mixer when mixing in the icing sugar. Just remember to grease the bowl and paddle attachment well with Crisco. Pourable Fondant (optional) White fondant Abricot jam Hot boiled water Pastry brush Tea spoon Heatproff bowls Optional: Flavourings and food colors. Step 1: Brush the cakes with a thin coat of hot abricot jam. Let it dry. Step 2: Place the fondant in a heatproff bowl and heat it gently in the microway oven for approx 1 min. It needs to be warm but dont let it boil. Give it a stir to get it smooth. It is important that you get the right consistency. If it gets too thick you will have difficulty and if it is too thin it will look transparent on the cake. Give it a few tries and you will find the right consistency. You can use boiled water, a tsp at a time, to thin it down. If it gets too cold gently reheat it in the microway oven a few sec. Note: Store the cakes in cake boxes. NOT in the refrigerator because that will dissolve the poured fondant. Also air thight containers can make the fondant melting. Recipe Tutorial Adapted from "Cake Journal" Video Steps 1. Part One 2. Video Step Two (Poured Fondant Icing) 3. Step Three, dipping the petit four into fondant.
Photography Data: Featured Photographer Elisabeth Coelfen ApertureFNumber: f/5.0 Make: Canon Model: Canon EOS 5D Mark II ExposureTime: 1/125 FNumber: 5/1 ExposureProgram: 3 ISOSpeedRatings: 100 MeteringMode: 5 Flash: 16 FocalLength: 50/1
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  • March 24, 2012 at 9:23 pm //

    These petit fours are beautiful! They sound delicious as well, I have never heard of cherry blossom extract!

    • March 27, 2012 at 11:08 am //

      Hi Amy, it’s such a wonderful flavor, unique, we really love it.

  • March 24, 2012 at 9:25 pm //

    Beautiful! Just beautiful! And so perfect for spring (or Valentine’s Day!). Signed up and am looking forward to receiving your newsletter and staying up to date with everything you are doing!

  • March 24, 2012 at 10:28 pm //

    These are so pretty and just perfect for spring! The cherry blossom extract sounds delicious too.

  • March 24, 2012 at 11:27 pm //

    Hi! I followed you on Google reader. Does that enter me into the contest? I have been trying to get Cherry Blossom Extract for years! I love cherry blossoms and my best friend even made me custom cherry blossom cookie cutters. Thanks for posting this recipie, I can’t wait to give it a try. :D

    • March 27, 2012 at 11:08 am //

      Absolutely = ) Thank you so much for commenting and participating = )

  • March 25, 2012 at 3:14 am //

    Wow…love those fondant flowers….very pretty and cute……cherry blossom extract is new to me and would love to taste it…..i follow u r space as a reader and i subscribed to your space too….

  • March 25, 2012 at 7:12 am //

    What beautiful petits fours! Such a beautiful photo just had to be pinned. :)

  • March 25, 2012 at 8:47 am //

    Signed up for your emails and feeds. Hope I win! These look amazing!

  • March 25, 2012 at 9:03 am //

    Just beautiful!

  • March 25, 2012 at 12:26 pm //

    I would LOVE to win a bottle of cherry blossom extract! I’ve been trying to purchase a bottle for quite some time now, but with no luck.

    By chance do you know if Rakuten carries it? I did a search but nothing came up.

  • March 26, 2012 at 12:11 am //

    The petit fours are so beautiful. Cherry blossom extract has such unique flavor.

  • March 26, 2012 at 1:04 am //

    Wow, these look way too fancy to be easy! Very pretty little treats :)

    • March 26, 2012 at 7:30 am //

      It’s really easy with bought marzipan toppers “wink”, although, it does take time to get each petit four covered, but so worth it. Thank you for commenting Kiri.

  • March 26, 2012 at 4:06 am //

    gorgeous… i definitely don’t have decorating skills to pull off something like this

    • March 26, 2012 at 7:29 am //

      You could totally buy Marzipan toppers or sugar flowers, some of the bake shops sell really beautiful toppers that not only look pretty but taste delish too = ) Thank you so much for commenting.

  • March 27, 2012 at 4:01 am //

    The petitfours look adorable. I receive you news letter

    • March 27, 2012 at 11:07 am //

      Thank you Joy.

  • March 27, 2012 at 12:41 pm //

    These little cakes are unbelievably gorgeous! I can’t believe you made these!

  • March 27, 2012 at 2:56 pm //

    Such delicate work, not only pleasing to the palate but also to the eyes!

  • August 29, 2012 at 12:38 am //

    Pretty cherry bmolsoss, I love Brooklyn botanical gardens. did you check out the new issue of Blueprint magazine? They have a story showing the apt of one of the owners of Purl – very pretty and inspiring.